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Waitaki River Should Remain Project-Aqua Free

Waitaki River Should Remain Project-Aqua Free

Waitaki River Users’ Liaison Group, which is opposed to Meridian Energy’s Project Aqua, held a day of free jet boat rides last Friday on the Waitaki River at Kurow.

Almost one thousand people took up the invitation to experience the river from on the water. According to the group’s president, Bruce Parker, people were amazed at what the river has to offer, ‘They had their whole perspective changed, before going out on the rides, many had no informed opinion about Project Aqua.

‘They were not aware that the Waitaki River already provides 25% of New Zealand’s power and were really hacked off that Meridian Energy wants to take control of the last stretch of this magnificent braided river’.

Under Project Aqua 73% of the Lower Waitaki River would be diverted into a 60km long canal for hydro-electric generation. The purpose of the jet boat event was to give people a chance to see the river first hand and to inform them of the effects of Project Aqua.

Mr Parker said that many people taking jet boat rides had come from outside of the district and could not understand why a beautiful river and valley would be destroyed when there are other ways of generating power.

Organizer of the ten boats and local Kurow farmer, Tony Chapman agreed, ‘I had nothing but positive feed back about the river all day, people knew about Project Aqua but nobody was for it and many didn’t realise what the river had to offer’.

The boat drivers all came from the Kurow district and had covered the costs themselves. People taking rides were from different parts of New Zealand, as well as locals and tourists from Australia, England, France and America.

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